ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The African Union on Friday endorsed the creation of a regional force to fight Boko Haram.
AU Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced after Friday's AU Summit meetings that the new force would conduct "military operations to prevent the expansion of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups' activities and eliminate their presence."
Boko Haram began a campaign of terror in Nigeria in 2009, attempting to create an Islamic state and to deny Western-style education.
One Nigerian official has played down the need for outside assistance. National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki told the BBC that while Boko Haram poses a "real security threat," there is no need to deploy United Nations or AU troops, insisting that Nigeria and its neighbors were in "good shape" to confront the militants.
Those neighbors, however, are the ones who have offered to commit troops. Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have agreed to contribute troops to the planned 7,500-person multinational force.
Terrorism, in particular of #BokoHaram, requires a response that is collective, decisive & effective to achieve the desired results.— Dr. Dlamini Zuma (@DlaminiZuma) January 30, 2015
The proposal, which could herald a turning point in a collective response to Boko Haram, will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council for approval.